Growing up as a child wasn’t a very smooth and pleasant experience for me because I was faced with many challenges which were so unhealthy for me. I grew up having to worry about my appearance and what the public thought of me.
I saw myself as an unattractive, unwanted, and unacknowledged person. I lived with this uncool idea that I didn’t fit in anywhere, and that I was of low status for years. I felt even more out of place because of my height.
I grew very tall (very quickly) which was quite uncommon for females. As a result, I couldn’t lead the way when walking with peers, nor occupy the front rows in school for fear of obstructing other kids.
But, I think the worst part of it all was the undue pressure I felt from home. I grew up in a very demanding home as I was always compared to other kids (both academic and social-wise).
I was a brilliant kid – one of those kids always bagging straight “A”s – always taking the first place in Primary School until I got into High School.
“Fire meeting volcano”, is perhaps the best expression of what happened. In High School, I met some really smart students (who were probably also taking first place back in their Primary School). The competition got stiff, and I was knocked down to second place (despite trying my best).
But it would seem no one else appreciated my efforts. All I ever got from home was constant comparison with the first-place student. Although I didn’t like the feeling of being second, and the comparison made me feel less appreciated and isolated, I still strived harder, and harder to come first.
I didn’t succeed in that.
Soon I started considering other bright students as rivals and threats.
All these made me interact less with other kids within my age bracket, worsening the isolation I already felt (remember I already considered myself to be too tall and unattractive).
My ego took punch after punch, my self-esteem plummeted, and I got angry at everything as I journey slowly and silently into isolation and loneliness.
The depressing part of it all was that I had to watch people who I knew I was doing better than having fun and living their best lives.
Having to live this way – with a few supporting friends and lots of conniving foes – felt so stifling and suffocating. I needed to come out of that, else I might drown inside my own head, washed into oblivion, sinking into the ocean of misery and depression.
I needed to voice out but who was willing to hear me out?
Everyone wanted me to be this or that. When I ran to my mirror, all I could see was the reflection of a broken, low-spirited girl filled with spite, shame, and self-pity for herself…I was teary-eyed, and my head bowed in defeat.
All I could mutter while staring at my reflection was “This is not who you’re meant to be”. Right at that moment, I knew I had got to do something about myself, fast.
It was high time I gave “ME” some self-recognition. It was time for me to love myself… care for myself…applaud myself.
I needed a break…a break from the pressure, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, unhealthy comparison, and toxic competition. I had to try something new like self-love, positive self-appraisal, friendships, experiences, and generally changing my environment.
I had to open my mind to new ideas and skills for the sake of learning and enjoying them, not just to compete or impress anyone. I could really use these I sighed.
Thankfully, before the end of 2021, I had already checked these off my bucket list.
And one thing I can testify is that I love this New “ME”. When I look back at myself from 5 Years ago, I know for sure that I am never going back to that pathetic life I used to live.
Self-love really does change your life for the better. Love yourself.
Jennifer Obinwanne is a writer who loves bringing words to life with delightful creativity. She loves researching her topics of interest and also enjoys playing Scrabble.